Design & Emotion Blog

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iPod vs Regency TR1 – get emotional about the design “coincidences”

The original post was done by Javier Cañada at (in Spanish)


It has been over 50 years now, since the first transistor radio ever was introduced: the Regency TR1. It meant a revolution in radio usage.

Before 1954, people used to listen to the radio merely in their homes or in public spaces, but now everyone was able to take the radio anywhere and listen to it. The Regency TR1 was an instant success because of its wide range of possibilities and perfect marketing. It was the first radio ever that could be taken anywhere, fit in the palm of your hand and was powered with penlights.

Now, over 50 years later, we have got the new “radio” revolution in the iPod mini. It is supposed to be pure emotion design. But, how revolutionary is the iPod really? Wasn’t the Regency TR1 a perfect example of true emotional design as well?

Check out the following 5 coincidences in design between the Regency TR1 and the iPod mini:

1. The concept: A portable miniature device to listen to music.

2. The design: A small rectangle with a rather large circle, the dial, to navigate between options.

3. The diversity of options: Gold, blue, green, grey and pink. All the same. The Regency TR1 even has more options to choose from with e.g. a transparent version! Perhaps an idea for Apple?

4. The accessories: Cover and head set.

5. The way music is consumed: No longer listening to albums, rather then to single songs (Mp3’s)

I guess these “coincidences” show us two things:

First of all, emotional design is something we should try and understand by looking into past success stories. Secondly, Apple obviously does so and gets some of its inspiration from way back then.

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